After moving the offense into the redzone on two of the Raiders' first three offensive possessions, Jason Campbell failed to do much else.
Campbell completed five of his first seven pass attempts. But after an 8-yard completion to Darrius Heyward-Bey with 1:05 left in the first quarter, he did not complete another pass until the fourth quarter.
That's right. Campbell went 0-for-6, including an interception, until the 10:37 mark of the fourth quarter. That's when finally found Zach Miller for Miller's first catch of the day.
Simply put, Campbell was off the entire game. For all the zip he puts on his throws, Campbell could not hit his receivers. True, there were a few dropped passes that didn't help his cause. But there were a few plays Campbell could have had some big gains if it weren't for his overthrown passes, and that still doesn't excuse the fact that he didn't get the ball to his best asset, Miller, until the fourth quarter.
Some people might say Campbell showed good pocket presence or any other derivative of great mobility. But at the end of the day, results matter most. 83 yards and two interceptions on 8-of-21 passing is not getting to done, and then some.
Running Back: D+
What happened to the Michael Bush of last week? The Michael Bush the found a hole and barreled his way forward?
Bush didn't get much help from his offensive line, but really, the line's play wasn't any worse than last week, when ran for 104 yards on 26 carries. If anything, credit the 49ers for exploiting an obvious deficiency: the utter lack of depth at running back.
Rock Cartwright got only one carry after Bush took a blow in the first quarter. He was promptly taken down for a three-yard loss.
The 49ers did not let Bush put his head down and get to the second level by matching physicality with physicality. It's a game like this that makes it glaringly evident that the Raiders need Darren McFadden in the rotation.
Not that it needs any more emphasis, but the best running play the Raiders had all day was on a beautiful end-around by Louis Murphy that went for 43 yards.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: D
It seems like for every step the duo of Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey take forward, there are two steps back.
Campbell's poorly thrown balls is a major factor here, but nonetheless, the youngsters have got to do a better job of getting open, especially against soft zone coverage.
Just take a look at the elite offenses of the NFL. The Saints, Packers and Colts move the chains consistently. Sure, they have elite level quarterbacks, but guys like Lance Moore and Austin Collie aren't close to being the physical specimens Heyward-Bey and Murphy are. At the end of the day, all offenses have plays where things break down and receivers have to make decisions on the fly. Chemistry is an important factor, but what's more important is having the presence of mind to move to open parts of the field. How many times did Campbell barely miss his receivers on potentially huge gains because they were draped by cornerbacks? In Campbell's defense, he shouldn't have to make difficult throws on the majority of his pass attempts.
You have to feel for Zach Miller. It seems obvious for any offense, elite or not, that when you have a tight end of Miller's caliber, you get him the ball as often as you can. Even if he's a predictable target and is facing constant double coverage, Miller should not have gotten his reception in the fourth quarter. He got his second on the following play, and what did he do with his two catches? 48 yards (to lead the team) and two first downs.
Offensive Line: D+
Would Campbell have fared any better with better protection? Usually, yes. But this time around, a lot of the blame falls on Campbell's shoulders.
Consistency—as it's been said all too often—has been a major issue for this team. There were brief flashes where Campbell actually looked to have a nice pocket to work with, but those chances were all too rare.
On a week-to-week basis, Mario Henderson, Langston Walker and Khalif Barnes are physically and athletically dominated by opposing pass rushers. Regardless of how they are rotated in and out and against whom, it's become evident that the Raiders will have to get by with what they've got and that they hope to catch opposing defenses on their "bad days."
Defensive Line: C-
It takes an added degree of effort to keep Frank Gore contained, and unfortunately, the defensive line was unable to do that. Gore finished with 149 yards on 25 carries. 64 of those yards came on a 1st and 10 run in the fourth quarter.
The line put decent pressure on Alex Smith, forcing him to move around in the pocket and throw the ball away on a number of occasions. Smith wasn't comfortable for much of the first half, but the second half was another story.
The 49ers ate up huge chunks of the clock after halftime, prolonging drives on a power run game up the gut and Smith's passing. It look a lot like last year's preseason game, when then-49er Glenn Coffee ate up the Raiders on simple run plays down the middle.
Matt Shaughnessy had another solid game and he's quietly had himself a very good 2010 season. Shaughnessy finished with four tackles and a sack. No one has ever questioned his physical gifts, but it looks like Shaughnessy is starting to really get the mental part of the game working for him. On the sack played, Shaughnessy showed his improved instincts, forcing left tackle Joe Staley into a back peddle and then having the presence of mind to move towards the oncoming Smith.
As with the defensive line, the linebackers' grade gets help from the overall ineptitude of the 49ers offense. That being said, also like the line, the linebackers played a poor second half.
Rolando McClain hasn't played up to the expectations placed on him, although that isn't to say he's had a poor season. Like Shaughnessy, no one questions McClain's physical abilities or his mental preparedness. What he'll need to work on though is his instincts. If anything, it looks like McClain is doing too much thinking on the field, and that seems to take away from his aggressiveness.
The trio of outside linebackers, Kamerion Wimbley, Quentin Groves and Trevor Scott, had a let down performance. The 49ers did a good job of neutralizing them by sticking with their inside running game, but it also looked as if defensive coordinator John Marshall just didn't call a good game. With the secondary playing so aggressively, Marshall essentially ignored his outside linebackers on the pass rush, which is their collective specialty. Perhaps this adds more fuel to the argument that the Raiders have personal that fits a 3-4 scheme better than a 4-3.
For two consecutive weeks, miscommunication has plagued the secondary. While Nnamdi Asomugha has been his reliable self, he needs some help whenever he's working down in coverage. A lot of those times, Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch have been caught cheating inside, and it's amazing that the Raiders did not get beat more often down the field.
The Raiders will live and die by their aggressive secondary, but with the influx of speedy, catch-first tight ends in the past decade, that truth will become more difficult to accept. Vernon Davis finished with only 35 yards on four catches, but also had a fourth quarter touchdown that essentially sealed the game.
Special Teams: A
The final score would be a lot different had it not been for the play of Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski.
Of course, Janikwoski had all of the Raiders' nine points. He's come along very well in recent weeks after a poor start to the season.
Lechler was a godsend for the Raider offense. Had it not been for his six punts that averaged 53.5 yards, including a booming 61-yarder, the 49ers could have easily put up another touchdown or two in points. On his 61-yard punt, the Lechler bailed the Raiders out after a drive that stalled within their own 5-yard line.
Jacoby Ford has come along nicely in the return game, and you shouldn't be surprised if he takes one back to the house in the coming weeks. He's improved each week and it just looks like he's ready to bust a big one.
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